Prospect Park Water Tower, 55 Malcolm Avenue Southeast, Minneapolis, Minnesota

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Prospect Park "The Witch's Hat" Water Tower

From F.W. Cappelen Memorial Bridge, 2009.
Address: 55 Malcolm Avenue
Location of Structure: Corner of Malcolm and Seymour, in Tower Hill Park
Neighborhood/s: Prospect Park, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Hennepin County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Year built: 1913
Primary Style: Gothic Revival
Architect or source of design: F.W. Cappelen
Historic Function: Water Tower

Prospect Park Minneapolis Hennepin County

Prospect Park Water Tower, 55 Malcolm Avenue Southeast, Minneapolis, Minnesota
(44.968924° N, 93.21274° WLatitude: 44°58′8.126″N
Longitude: 93°12′45.864″W
Located in Tower Hill Park, the water tower was designed by Minneapolis city engineer Frederick William Cappelen, a Norwegian-American who also designed the Franklin Avenue (F.W. Cappelen Memorial) Bridge. The site was originally purchased by the city in order to improve the water pressure to the Prospect Park area. Constructed in 1913, it functioned as a water tower until 1952. It was hit by lightning in 1956, and was slated for demolition until the community rallied to save it.



Made of concrete construction, with a 320 foot metal tank lining to hold 150,000 gallons of water, it stands at a height of 111 feet total (a 60 foot tower with a 51 foot conical roof). It tops one of the three highest points in the city of Minneapolis, and is readily visible from the surrounding areas with its distinctive conical, green tile "Witch's Hat" roof standing out amidst the tree tops.

An octagonal, arched belvedere (observation deck) surrounds the tower top, originally added as a bandstand. Legend says that it was only used once for that purpose since it took great effort for the musicians to haul their instruments up the stairs. Adding to its mystique, it is rumored to be the inspiration for Bob Dylan's All Along the Watchtower. The tower has a medieval air, with the arches looking out over the landscape.

Restored in 1984, on November 13, 1997 the Prospect Park Water Tower along with Tower Hill Park were officially listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Currently open only once a year on the Friday evening following Memorial Day, the community holds an ice cream social and visitors are welcome to climb the water tower and take in the views from the observation deck.

Memories and stories

Photo Gallery

Related Links

Prospect Park Neighborhood History

Climbing the Witch's Hat video 1

Climbing the Witch's Hat video 2

Climbing the Witch's Hat video 3


Berman, Lael, text; Frieda Rich, illus. Landmarks - Old and New: Minneapolis, Saint Paul and Surrounding Areas. Minneapolis: Nodin Press. 1988.

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